Date: April 10, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Spieth sparkles, Day roars

Australian Open champion Jordan Spieth has re-written the history books, becoming the youngest first-round leader of the Masters.

And Queenslander Jason Day made a late charge to be tied second and make it yet another remarkable day for Australian golf at Augusta National.

Spieth, not 22 until late July, bettered Rory McIlroy’s 2011 mark by almost three months after shooting an eight-under-par 64 to lead by three strokes on a perfect day for scoring.

The Texan, who so brilliantly won the Emirates Australian Open in November, has been on a tear since, surging to No.4 in the world with a string of wins and top-10 finishes in the United States.

And he didn’t let that form go to waste today, carving up the revered Augusta National with nine imperious birdies.

Only an uncharacteristically sloppy bogey on the relatively easy par-5 15th prevented an assault on the major championship record of 63.

But it was still good enough to establish a three-shot lead over Day, Ernie Els, Charley Hoffman and Justin Rose at five under.

The Australian contingent had a largely encouraging opening round, highlighted by Day’s stunning back-nine surge of five birdies in a row.

Day made seven consecutive pars to start his round, but birdies at the 8th and 9th were slightly undone by a bogey on the 11th.

But it sparked the 27-year-old’s incredible five-birdie barrage, capped by almost holing out on the par-3 16th.

The streak took him briefly to six under and outright second, but a blocked drive on the 17th ultimately cost him a bogey.

And another driving error on 18th was mitigated by a superb up and down from behind the final green so he could leave the course on the right note.

John Senden continued his remarkably consistent Augusta National form to end at one under, a year after he shocked many but not himself in finishing tied eighth in the year’s first major.

The 2013 champ Adam Scott made a two-putt bogey up the last after hopping between fairway traps in a nice summation of his even-par round of 72.

Geoff Ogilvy will rue some missed short putts after signing for a 74 that included four birdies.

But three putts from inside 1.5m on the 16th after one of the round’s best tee shots was sadly a sign of his frustration.

Amateur Antonio Murdaca made a couple of birdies himself, but me mixed in four double-bogeys to card a 78.

It left the South Australian four shots behind leading amateur Byron Meth after his opening 74.